Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reality? I think not

Shame on you, TLC, for leading the general public to believe that you too, can spend hours and hours clipping coupons and save one hundred percent on your weekly groceries.

I will admit that I tune in to Extreme Couponing and even caught the special Extreme Cheapskates (both on TLC in case any of you live under a rock).  I spend a lot of time trying to stretch our dollars (as I am currently unenjoyed unemployed).  I make every effort to conserve our resources on our meager pay.  I do spend several hours per week clipping coupons and perusing sale flyers.  I am able to save 50-75% on my grocery bill with sales and coupons.  I go to lengths not to throw away food as it is irresponsible both economically and with regards to sustainability.  I'm no tree hugger - I hunt and fish - but I HATE throwing away food - it is money and resources down the drain.

Here are my gripes regarding the process of Extreme Couponing (I will also refer to such sites as Krazy Coupon Lady and Coupon Mom)
-I have been couponing for years (not as much as I do now).  I have NEVER come across deals from my local grocery store in which combining a coupon with a sale gets an item for free (excluding the time that I wrote to Huggies complaining about their diapers and they sent me $20 coupons for diapers).
-My local grocery store does NOT allow you to redeem coupons for more than the value of the item (it seems that these people frequently have negative balances at the end of transactions)
-Several sites encourage you to hit multiples stores to take advantage of their sales - well I'm sorry, but my gas is worth something too.  Living in a very rural area of Vermont, it is costly for me to drive around to several stores in terms of gas.
-Printing out online coupons?  I feel it is environmentally irresponsible to waste all that paper and what is the cost involved in buying paper and ink for all those coupons?  I think some of these people need to do a cost/benefit analysis

Side note: I recently spoke to a girlfriend whose husband is a produce manager at another local grocery store.  She informed me that he says that there aren't any northern New England grocery chains that give deals like that - allowing savings of close to 100%.

Next, lets look at Extreme Cheapskates - for those of you who didn't catch this show, here are a few examples of the way that people on this show were saving money:
-One gentleman would go out to eat, bring several containers, and go around the restaurant asking people for the uneaten food on their plates.  Ok, people, setting my pride aside, that is truly an unsafe practice.  Realistically, you have no idea what communicable diseases these people are carrying around with them.  That is how the plague gets around.  There is still debate over whether or not HIV can be spread through saliva.
-One woman who was a member of a babysitting club (an situation in which 4 neighborhood families would leave their kids with one family every Friday night, with the requirement that in addition to sitting, you had to provide a meal as well) actually showed her shopping trip to the local discount store and purchased food that had a two year old expiration date to make pizza for her herd.  Again, I feel like this is a dangerous practice.  Why risk food poisoning to save a few cents here and there?
-This same woman also refused to buy toilet paper, instead, she made her family use rags, left a hamper in the bathroom, and washed them when it got full, citing that no forms of bacteria could survive a washing machine.  While I am not a biologist or sanitary engineer - come on people, this is just gross.  I understand that it really isn't any different than using cloth diapers, but for some reason I cannot wrap my noggin around wiping my ass with something that someone else in the house used to wipe theirs yesterday.  Aside from the yuck factor - how much more money does this woman spend in electricity and detergent to wash the 'toilet paper'?  Again, I feel a cost/benefit analysis is necessary in that instance.
*PS if I ever found out someone babysitting the Yeti was feeding him wildly expired food and making him wipe his ass with the family toilet paper, I would shit on her doorstep.
-One gentleman advocated the use of bartering to get free or discounted services/products.  In one clip, he was reciting verses and singing to get a discount on a wedding cake.  I will admit that I have traded services in a means of saving some money (i.e. working for the landlord to take some money off the rent), however, I don't think it is realistic that ANY business would trade singing for free services.
-One gentleman also went dumpster diving for food.  Do I even need to elaborate on that?

My question with regards to the Extreme Cheapskates is: how much money does it really save you?  Buying two ply TP and peeling it apart?  I don't know about you, but I would use more one ply trying to get all the cling-ons off my ass.

Maybe I don't see the bigger picture here because I certainly know that every penny counts, but I would never endanger my family's health to save a few cents.

1 comment:

  1. I too watch Extreme Couponing. Every time someone I know hears of me couponing, they immediately reference that show. They fail to realize that it's not reality. I've even blogged about couponing too. It can be advantageous....WHEN DONE RIGHT! I completely agree with everything you said. Never have I saved 100% on a shopping trip. And I DO NOT buy unnecessary items. I buy only things that I need.
    Here's my posts about couponing too :)